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On Love....

“Love Hurts”


We were basking in the sun after climbing the rickety stairs which took us to the top of the water-tank. It was our space, away from the maddening land-lady. Occasional breeze would send shivers down our spine and we would giggle like school kids. The place hopefully still keeps our secret rendezvous safe in her granite. We had our midnight parties, silent sobbing, philosophical banters, singing aloud with no reason or rhyme, getting drenched in the rains; all the silly stupid things that comprise of hostel life. Sometimes I miss those carefree moments.

               Coming back to that day, we all were lying down lost in our own thoughts, when 'A' uttered those ominous words. Why would she say that? I wondered looking at her for explanation. When she gave none, I reiterated with “No.It doesn’t, if it hurts it’s never love.”

“You’ll know,” she replied sagely. And I tossed it as yet another philosophical bullshit before we moved on to better things (eating cream and onion potato chips).

o o o



“If you truly love someone; set them free.”


Tears blur my vision as I see his smiling face across the computer screen. If he is happy, why ain’t I? Is this what true love is all about? I analyze and counter argue with myself. They say when you are really happy; your smile reaches your eyes. I needed answers. Where did I go wrong? Why was this happening to me? Lost in thoughts, my jittery hands dialed the number that stole my heart.

“It was my marriage for God sake! How do you expect me not to smile?” he said. The world came crashing down and few friends helped me to build it up back again. The experience took something away from me and replaced it with a belief that I could survive a storm.

                There are always two sides of a story; this is mine.

o o o



"When they say that the Universe is conspiring.....it's mostly your friends and family brainwashing you!!"


The whole 'Arranged Marriage' scenario is a hilarious circus which you can enjoy only from the spectator's seat. Firstly the girl and guy need to approve each other, then the parents need to get along together, plus the horoscope needs to be matched to perfection. And finally when all the parameters are met then and only then is “Love” taken into consideration.

                  Yes!  Of course, I have known people who supposedly “clicked” with the first guy/girl they met and are happily married with kids. I wasn’t that lucky. It was years of meeting Mr. Wrongs and yakking about it to my concerned friends and family that I realized that maybe I am not at all marriage material. And what I was looking for was never to be found. Because, he was already married? Nah!

      But yeah, I wasn’t ready to risk my heart this time around. It was going to be arranged marriage or nothing!

o o o



"Love...something which makes you see SIGNS even when none exists!!"


He noticed me at this crossroad of life, shopping for happiness. It was plain unadulterated fun; the one that doesn’t ask for validation. Chatting with each other was the best part of the day. Nonsense was respected and it took off the load that life was throwing at me. I was avoiding love at all cost and here it was right in front of me tempting me to give it a try. Did I?

              Well..er..heh…yes. I confessed my feelings. “But we are just friends.” He responded. “What about those signs?” I inquired. “Which ones?”  He seemed totally clueless. All right! Time to shut up.


Rejected. Dejected. I decided to move on. We stayed friends and also kept chatting.

o o o



“Fear is the heart of love.”


I got married in about six months of dating him. The ‘why not?’ got answered with ‘let’s give this a try’ and it worked. I still pester him about what made him decide on me after friend zoning me. “It took me some time” is all he says. So, should we call this love? I really don’t know. All I know is he cares and so do I.

              Marriage comes with its own share of doubts especially when you see them falling apart day in and day out. On television and in real life. He thinks I have trust issues, a baggage that I carry from past experience and I think he doesn’t share enough. The argument continues till wee hours of morning, till we both get tired and go to sleep.

               Each experience in life teaches you something new,this love (if I may call it that) is way different from the first one I experienced. I do fear the safety of my heart and I know that people fall out of love and sometimes it deters me from enjoying what I have right now.


“Love Hurts. It does.” And sometimes, it leaves scars behind.


O O O

Much Ado About....

         
                 
Life is an equation in which the only thing constant is the variables.




And yet, I fail to learn this simple statistics. Yours truly is a planner who plans ahead of time. Are you wondering, “What’s wrong with it?” Well, as Franklin Jones rightly noted that ‘The trouble with being punctual is that nobody’s there to appreciate it’. Most of my plans die a natural death as soon as unpredictable circumstance rears its ugly head. Blame it on Murphy; I say!







“Take it easy, babe.”

“You need to let yourself loose.”

“Too much planning ruins the fun.”

“Just live in the moment”



             
Yes! I get them a lot. Not that I don’t try. It’s really difficult trust me. I need to know where I am heading (in life/love/career); how long will I be there (so that I can boost my morale if the situation is bad or cherish it as long as it lasts if it’s good); and possibly predict the outcome (everyone loves to have a superpower, I am no exception ;)) Come to think of it most of my plans end with “And I lived happily ever after…”




Sigh! If only they worked as planned !&#!





             
So, when the great Wayne Gretzky said, “I don't skate to where the puck is. I skate to where the puck is going to be." Maybe he had a mind I own. And since evolution favored the puck; it has a change of heart in my plans and takes an altogether different trajectory. And I am left fuming like dry ice.




‘It’s plain bad puck!’





Therefore, this New Year; I have planned to not plan. How’s that for a resolution? What’s yours?



                                      &&&

Mumbai Meri Jaan !

“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahan, Zara Hat Ke, Zara Bach Ke
Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan"1



Living in this city for more than two decades has made me realize that I have unwittingly fallen in love with it. I may crib; I may rant; but at the end of the day I’ll stand up for the “spirit” of Mumbai and blend into the crowd to be proudly called a “Mumbaiya.” #

                    The first brush with the city can be quite intimidating; especially if you have arrived from a laid back town of leisure and pleasure. The bustling crowd which you feel is heading nowhere; the never ending traffic where every honk has a distinct shrill; the congested slums with infection thriving at every nook; it certainly make you balk and dash for a home run. You feel like a drifter in the middle of an unknown game trying to bail out yourself. It also makes you wonder about the “secret” that lies with these crackerjacks.







“Next station Bandra; Pudheel station Vandre; Agla station Baandrah”2



I don’t know whether I am a quintessential Bandra girl (she’s a pearl which can surprisingly turn into a curveball over a cup of coffee); but I grew up in the suburbs of Bandra. Nostalgia resides there now and I do visit it often.

                      Local trains are the lifeline of Mumbai. Their serpentine network runs throughout the city which never sleeps. These overcrowded bogeys magically make space for one person more. It’s a mini-world inside, comprising of the vendors selling household stuff;  a female group gossiping in the corner; someone cutting vegetable on the go; youngsters with their headphones synced to their musical world; and if you are lucky/early enough you might end up listening to the bhajans (hymns) on your way to work/home. Or better still witness a catfight that you can re-tell by including all its gory details at your clubhouse.







“Vada Pav/MisalPav/Samosa Pav/Cutting Chai malai marke.”3



“Let’s have a pow-wow over vada pav” would sum up my entire college life in Mithibai. I developed a taste for Chai in my graduation years. Leaving home at 5 am and returning back after sunset; I would have plunked, if it wasn’t for that Samosa pav to pick me up.

                    The street food of Mumbai is something every Mumbaikar # will swear by. The mouthwatering pani-puri, spicy and kicking Misal pav and of course the staple diet of every homeless guy on the pothole ridden road our very own Vada pav. There are famous Khao gullies (Eatery Streets) which people visit for their well-known delicacies.Mumbai boasts of places which are open far into the night.








“Cricket,Calamities and Celebrations.”



I have seen them all. Be it winning the Cricket World cup of 2011 and people cheering for team India at Shivaji park and Gateway of India. Or the common man picking up bits and pieces of his life after the 7/11 Bomb blasts and travelling in the same local train the next day wondering if he’ll return back to the safety of his home at night. The city nurtures a Muslim taxi driver who celebrates Ganeshostav; a Christian mother who fasts for Navratri; a Hindu boy who will keep roza with his friend and gorge on biryani to commemorate Eid.

                     These 3C’s unite the people of Mumbai into a cohesive bond. We call it “The Spirit of Mumbai.” A place where madness, chaos, humanity, serenity, love, riots all co-exists in a meshed up platter.  Where each one is trying to make it a perfect game; an inning they’ll be proud of. This is the place where dreams come true if you work hard enough and take the strike in your stride.



                                                                          &&&







# Mumbaiya / Mumbaikar = a moniker for a person living in Mumbai

1 “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahan, Zara Hat Ke, Zara Bach Ke ; Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan”  
 O gentle heart..life is an uphill struggle. Be alert, be streetwise; This is Bombay, my love


“Next station Bandra; Pudheel station Vandre; Agla station Baandrah”
It’s the announcement made on local trains for passengers to know. It’s repeated in English followed by Marathi and then Hindi. I choose this specific station because I used to live there and also because it is pronounced differently in all the three languages (As if one place has three names.)


“Vada Pav/MisalPav/Samosa Pav/Cutting Chai malai marke.”
   Various street foods of Mumbai.

Vada pav = Indian version of burger.
Misal Pav = a spicy curry made of sprouted moth beans mixed with fried gram cookies and peanuts to be had with bread (pav)
Samosa pav = Potato stuffed pastry placed in between the bread (pav)
Cutting chai Malai marke = Half a glass is called cutting , chai = tea, malai marke = addition of extra cream.

                             
                                                                                                  &&&&

In memory of....

               “So marumagal*, how was your day?”  These were the words that greeted me each day when I entered my new abode. “It was fine, Appa**,” was the usual response. Hearing this, his smiling face would go back to swaying his head to the beats of the music on the stereo.




               I never told him, that this small gesture of his made me feel at home. Marriage was not an easy transition. Just like any other newly married girl I was trying to adjust to the new surroundings. You usually seek a friendly support to ease you through this situation.




              Appa understood. He became that one friend. Our dinner time used to be filled with anecdotes from his younger years. The stories varied with time; most of them were from ‘Air India’ where he had spent most of his life doing double shifts in the company of good friends. Or better still the adventures of Kanyakumari with his close knit extended family. He was the one who dived in and picked up a coral for his beloved wife in Andaman on their family vacation.




              He was a fun loving guy, which everyone who has met him would agree. He loved inviting people home for Christmas and New Year; the list normally exceeded thirty (which was supposed to be the “Only close friends and family” list.) He thrived in company. Friends and Alcohol were his weaknesses; friends with alcohol meant celebration without a special occasion.




              The relationships that he built during his lifetime were his real earnings. He was that one friend who’ll do all he can if you ask for assistance. And that, is the inheritance he’s passed on. It’s been almost a year, but it still feels like yesterday. The last pleasant memory of his that I have is, on New Year’s Eve; where he’s holding a glass of whiskey smiling at friends bidding him goodbye.




               I don’t know if he was an ideal son, husband, father, uncle, grandfather or father-in-law but one thing that his friends visiting us since last one year has made me realize –


                 That he was ‘That One Friend’ who’ll be missed for life!



                                        &&&



Tamil dialect :
* Marumagal = daughter-in-law.
**Appa=father.

Are we there yet?

I like my Paneer* to be soft and juicy. The trick is to sauté it in oil and before it turns golden brown, dump it in salted-water.Juicy paneer in a rich gravy of tomato and onion can woo my heart, mind and soul. OorgaassYummmmmm! Food is my stress-buster. There is nothing in the world that something with chocolates can't solve; well er..it atleast lifts your mood up. What say? What's your go to food item?


                    Well,talking about eating reminds me....


Need to shed some kilos off my healthy body. Post marriage; I have almost gained 20kgs extra. Well ,you see,when your mom is not around to warn you of the consequences; you tend to hog yourself to glory. My love affair with food has lead people to believe that good news is 'round the stomach. I just nudge my tummy to growl a disapproving grunt, while I cheekily devour rest of the dessert.Seriously though, I have started being a bit more health conscious and I am trying to stick to a routine workout.Diet doesn't work for me,you must have realized by now!


                     Which bring me to....


The struggle of writing non-fiction. It makes you feel vulnerable, just like love.You give your cent percent hoping that the feeling will be reciprocated.Fiction, on the other hand, is like gossip; it's always about someone else.It's the fantasy you would want to live instead of talking/writing about it. Non-Fiction is raw, where no adjectives can cover up the flaws. Fiction is like the holiday you took in ages, non-fiction is about everyday wages.There is a thin line blurring the two; where a creative person can take a cue. The process is tedious as you may know. It makes you wonder when others snore -


                     Why the hell does a writer write? Simply put...


To Feel Alive !



                                                                                         &&&



*Paneer -Cottage cheese.


[Hope I did justice to this non-fiction piece. Concrits are welcomed and I am open to learning :) If you enjoyed reading this please vote for me here :http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/953518.html, username :eternal_ot]

My Experiment with non-fiction

AIM :Is to try and attempt non-fiction with the topic/s that are presented every week. It's really going to be tough especially for me(since I have only written fiction till date); but then what's life without challenges eh? ;)


APPARATUS : Life's experiences, friendly demeanour, quick-witted brain and of course, an inviting journal and a working keyboard.


PROCEDURE :Gosh! To tell you the truth, I am entirely 'Clueless'. I mean, ask any writer as to how they write and they'd pretty much answer  "I don't know, it just happens". Basically it's - Write.Edit.Repeat.
So, I am just hoping that ideas will pop open as soon as the topic/s are up (Ha! High expectations! ) or most probably I'll scour the work room, ask for help if needed; and get my entry posted by the end of the Idol week.(Phew!)



CONCLUSION : (We will cross the bridge when it comes :D) Whether I succeeded in keeping the promise of writing non-fiction or did I succumb to the charm and temptation of fiction --- only time will tell. (Psst..I have heard non-fiction too has different categories to experiment with).


DEAL BREAKER : If during the course of Idol I am unable to write a non-fiction piece OR an idea- which is fictional and is too good to give up - haunts me at night,I might break this deal :) (Keeping the escape window open ;) )



Cheers to everyone who is participating. I am really looking forward to this season and some amazing work to read. Feels like I am back to school after a mini-vacation where there is excitement of recognising old friends and catching up with them as well as the pleasure of getting to know new faces. Let's Begin!
                                        

Down The Rabbit Hole

  Hi everyone :) Hope you all are doing well. My Diwali (festival of lights) just got over; had a mini-vacation of sort and it was refreshing. It's good to be back here. Looking forward to an exciting journey once again and my brain is pricking me to take a risk and try something entirely new...let's see if I take up the challenge ;) We still have a few days to go.
      So, this is my official "Sign Up". Count me in. Let's begin the Madness !!!

Those interested can join in here :http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/945807.html

The Game called Life

Wanna see what you’re playing for?
Why ‘ya wanna see what you’re playing for?

The finish lines’ still blur,
And the race is On!

Very few will achieve,
What you are craving for!

Fame & Immortality,
Are the luxuries of God.

While the rest of us,
Will be deceased and gone.



Take it easy,
Take it slow.

Live in the moment,
And let it go!

The 'happy place' ya seek,
Isn’t next door.

Delve within,
Find your soul.

Therein lies the stakes,
Of what you should be playing for...



Just don’t look for the end,
Coz the self- portrait would be mundane.

But the travelogues will testify,
That the journey was worthwhile.

Winner or loser,
Only fate will decide.

Only later,
Will ya realize...

To become an enduring memoir,
Was the purpose of playing all this while...

                                                                   - T.E.O


                                                                   00&00

The Twist of Fate

                    The simian woke up to witness the horror. Anybody would have panicked seeing blood gushing out from the wrist. He tried to flee, but they were too many against one. Leaping for the chandelier, he crashed down and became unconscious again.

                     The Raj-Vaidya* ordered his disciple to continue the procedure, chiding another pupil for his miscalculation of the dosage of anaesthetic administered. The curtains fluttered and everyone felt the chill.

**


                       The King picked up the mummified paw, turning it over to see the cut. Brutal ! But it had to be done, he concluded. Sighing he inquired about his pet monkey’s health. Just few more days of suffering for the terminally ill, Raj-Vaidya informed his highness.

                       The monarch waved his hand to gesture that he be left alone. The paw didn't feel the same; it had turned cold with resentment. He could no longer face his pet pal, the one with whom he had shared all his wishes. Wishes- which got fulfilled till date. The Raja was wise enough to know that the monkey had magical power.

                       The Raj –Vaidya had narrowed it down to his paw. The monkey had a wish-fulfilling magical right paw. He was to be treated like royalty henceforth.

***


                       The primate was chained for safety. The innocuous pet had turned aggressive after the operation. Feeding him was getting cumbersome. He shrieked and scratched anyone who dared to come closer. His eyes were watery and searched beyond the vicinity for his master.

                      He believed that the King would come and rescue him. The news reached his majesty. Driven with guilt the King couldn't sleep a wink; so he decided to visit his special friend. The monkey jumped with joy on seeing the troupe. His face suddenly froze when he saw ‘the paw’ on the golden plate.

                     The monarch asked everyone to leave them alone. Picking up the raj-bhog* , he started feeding his dear mate. The monkey gulped the food down, waiting for his master to talk. Words which would reverberate till death started flowing, “ I..er..needed the wishes.” The King stuttered. “You know, you are ill. I had no option, but to cut your magical paw. The Raj- Vaidya ensured that it would be painless for you. I am sorry.”

                       It took some time for the simian to grasp. Finally, rage took over and he scratched the monarch’s face aiming for the eye. The King moved back in reflex, he after all was a great warrior. It wounded his heart. He turned and left the shrieking monkey to bicker, vowing never to visit again.

****


                        After the blasphemy that the primate had dared to attempt, everyone turned hostile towards him. He was starved to an early death. They could hear him mutter some chants. During his final days, he had attained a peaceful stance. Only his eyes were red with revenge.

                        No one dared to go near him. His majesty was informed about his routine frequently. The King was no longer interested in the monkey; he already had the magical paw. And its effects were already been seen, with one of his wishes already getting fulfilled. The East India Company had shown interest in investing in his Kingdom.

                      He had taken the paw along, when the talks were on and he wished before sleeping that they approve his proposal. The paw now felt warm and friendly, just like his simian friend. He paid the Raj-Vaidya handsomely when the wish got fulfilled, promising him funds for construction of a grand hospital.

                      Everyone had forgotten about the monkey, till the time the paw went missing. The Raja panicked and ordered a reward. Posters of the mummified paw were distributed throughout the kingdom. Houses, temples and workplaces were searched. Well –known thieves were taken into custody.

                     Finally, the sweeper, who noticed the stench coming from the room where the monkey was kept, earned the reward of finding the magical paw. The monkey had died while summoning his paw, which lay close to his amputated wrist. The face of the monkey had turned evil with decomposition. Cleaners shuddered before entering the room.

*****


                        The Raja performed a pious puja* to free the magical paw from any malicious spirit, as guided by the Raj-Jyotish*. People saw the paw move like a snake and gasped. But nobody dared to mention it to his Highness.

                       The King oblivious of his fate started carrying the paw with him from the next day onwards. Whispering his wishes by holding on to the warmth of the paw at night. Things started backfiring, one by one. India was taken over by the East India Company and it slowly started threatening to take over his kingdom as well.

                      The monarch had allies among the Britishers and they allowed him to rule albeit under their guidance. New taxes and rules were implemented, the common man rebelled. His family got killed in the revolt. The Raja was dethroned and East India Company took over. His highness lamented about his foolhardy ways, but it was too late.

                      Ashamed to face his own people, he became a wanderer. His only companion being the wretched paw, which he couldn't get rid of. If he left it somewhere, someone would come rushing towards him handing over his possession. He tried in vain, to burn, bury or drown it, but the paw always magically came back.

                     He had stopped wishing on it long back. He had learned a very important lesson the hard way, that fate cannot be interfered with and those who try to manipulate fate end up getting devastated like him. He preached as he hiked from one place to another, doing menial jobs, begging for food at times. He never stayed at one place for long, lest somebody recognized him.

                     He was now lovingly called ‘Fakir baba’, the one who shared stories and preached. He also learned a few magical remedies from Sadhus*, whenever he came across one who was ready to share his insight, thus lowering the potency of the paw. He couldn't completely get rid of the magic before he died. The paw now had a limited wish granting capacity but in a twisted way. Which the curious man who picked up the paw from the Fakir’s dead hand came to know.

******

( Hope you enjoyed this Pourquoi fiction. Suggestions and concrits are welcomed.)

*Translations=>

Raj- Vaidya :- The royal physician.
Raj- Bhog :- The royal feast.
Raj- Jyotish :- The royal astrologer.
Puja :- Religious ritual / Prayer with offerings.
Sadhu :- A holy man/ sage / ascetic.

Pinocchio's First Date



Once in a while, in the middle of a story, you find an interesting twist. The twist may add something to the story or may be the result of an over-enthusiastic author’s creative mind which needs to be edited. The following excerpt is from the Adventures of Pinocchio which got lost on the editing table.1

        


                            The Fairy with Turquoise hair was very happy with Pinocchio’s progress at school. After all, it was almost a year since Pinocchio was being an exemplary marionette. Leaving the Eugene incident, her child had been obedient throughout. “It’s time to set him free,” she sighed.


                    Inadvertently the Fairy had grown fond of Pinocchio. “But what has to be done; has to be done,” she decided. She would break the news to him this evening, “Let’s celebrate together for the last time.” She started making plans.

           

                            Pinocchio meanwhile had fallen head over heels in love. He too wanted to share this good news with the Fairy mother since last week. But the biological coward that he was, he couldn’t muster enough courage to share it with her, forget the one he loved. It was love at first sight, when he saw Candlewick surreptitiously flicking an apple from the fruit cart. His slender arms made it look like a mesmerizing graceful act.


                    Pinocchio suddenly felt ashamed of his wooden rickety frame. It was Candlewick who noticed him staring from a distance each day and confronted him. Pinocchio stuttered and before his nose grew in size he covered his face and ran homeward. After that incident they just exchanged coy smiles at each other which graduated to passing chits in which they generally chatted. He inwardly prayed to be a real boy, so that he could be real friends with Candlewick.


                  That evening, when the Fairy with Turquoise hair shared with him that his days of puppet-hood were almost over and he could invite his friends over for a party; Pinocchio confessed his infatuation for Candlewick to her. Being a mother, she could see the love in his eyes but she never trusted Pinocchio’s choice of friends.


                  She asked him to bring Candlewick along the next day to the party.  Pinocchio shared his fears with her; he didn’t want his nose to grow in front of Candlewick. “Then don’t lie” the Fairy calmly stated. Pinocchio started sulking, which melted her heart. She couldn’t let her last day with him get ruined.



                  The Fairy with Turquoise hair was known to hedge her bets and never lose. She handed over a sandpaper handkerchief to Pinocchio and cast a spell for a runny nose. So, whenever he would wipe his nose it would automatically reduce in size. The spell would be broken if Pinocchio kissed Candlewick, she warned him in advance.


                   Pinocchio was ecstatic. Finally, he would face Candlewick and speak to him in person. He couldn’t sleep well that night. Dreamy eyed, he woke up early to get ready and leave to invite everyone for his bash. The Fairy was emotional and did not want to miss a single moment of Pinocchio’s last day as a marionette. She started live- streaming the events on her whitewashed sheet left to dry, ordering everyone else to prepare for the evening.



                   She regretted it the moment she saw Pinocchio eloping with Candlewick to the Land of toys. Her son had abandoned her once again...she should have been prudent.


                                                                   

                                                                                 

                                                            1. Since it’s a Pinocchio fiction, you shouldn’t believe everything I say ;)

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